I remember bouncing along in the passenger seat of my father’s old, beat-up truck when a song from the 60’s came on proclaiming: “If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty woman your wife …”
The song was rhythmic and catchy, but its advice was not for me. No, some 22 years after hearing it I made a woman my wife who is very pretty, indeed. Beautiful, in fact. Her beauty, I am finding, only contributes to my happiness, but certainly takes nothing away from it. However, I do fear a remixed version of that song could be released that would hit nearer to home. It would go something like this: “If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, never make a morning person your wife …”
You see, I have a problem. Or, at least, now I do with this pretty woman I have made my wife.
I love sleep. There is just something about getting a room all chilly and crawling under warm blankets, cozy as a Care Bear in a cloud. Then, once there, letting all the to-do’s fade away, leaving this worrisome world for the freedom of the REM Cycle. I’m an escapist, I guess, and I’m lazy–sleep is the perfect combination-antidote for both; it is the most effortless kind of escape.
And maybe it is my love for sleep that does it to me, but for whatever reason I, perfectly amicable in most settings, am nightmarish upon waking up. I crawl from the bed and trudge to the shower, wishing I could go back to bed, and mad at the world that I can’t. Then, once propped up against the wall in the heat of the shower, my mind drifts through all the tasks I have that day, like going to work, the emails I’ll send there, what I have to do for lunch, my after work regimen, and so on, until my mind finally lands itself with all tasks completed and back to bed; it is only then it takes solace. Back to bed. Back to bed, I leave the shower lamenting how long it will be until I am there: Back to bed.
Sometimes I’ll cheat. Some post-work outdoor function gets rained out and I find myself with a few vacated hours in my life, and, if my wife is gone, I’ll tuck myself away, like little Nemo, and enter into a bonus round of glorious slumber.
But notice I put the line, “if my wife is gone.” My wife is not like me. To my knowledge she is not like anyone.
In my wife’s perfect world, there would be no sleep. She proves this daily by her wake-up times. Like some deranged dairy farmer, she’ll be up before dawn, raring to go but with no cows to milk. Sometimes I’ll hear her bound from bed, excitedly tackling the day before her. Don’t burn the day, she’ll say. What is wrong with her?
It is always a smidge embarrassing when I finally stagger downstairs after limping into clothes. She’ll perk up with a big grin, “Morning, Honey! How’d you sleep!” Why all the exclamation points?
“Hmm,” I respond with a disconsolate shrug. “I’m kind of tired …” I’ll mutter hating the labors it takes to produce AM words. “When did you get up?”
“4:49! I just couldn’t take it anymore!” she’ll pipe, taking a big gulp of what I presume to be her twelfth cup of coffee.
“What do you do that early?” I’ll bark disgustedly.
“Oh not much really, just get some ‘me time.’ So far all I’ve done is showered, vacuumed, dusted the house, made breakfast, packed our lunches, went on a run, found a lost dog, trained the dog to survive, released it back to the wild, watched the news, ironed your clothes, called my mom, planned our Christmas shopping, got ready for work, fed the baby bird that lives in the wreath on our door, redecorated for Fall, and then I just kicked around some stuff for my second job.” She’ll say all this in one breath, like it is nothing, and then she’ll shoot me her loveliest, wide-eyed smile, “So what about you, what have you been up to?”
I always debate telling her about my “morning” thus far: that I took a shower, got dressed, and put in my contact lens (only one because I dropped the other one and didn’t have the energy to fish around in the bottom of my toiletry bag—wherever that was?—for a replacement; I call these “Cyclops Days”). But then I realize how much more lackluster my “accomplishments” will sound when uttered out loud, released to the world.
“Well?” she’ll follow up on my silence, truly curious because she is chipper and a morning person after all.
“Umm … I just got up,” I’ll say as I shuffle past her toward the kitchen where my breakfast banana and lunch has been meticulously laid out on the recently scrubbed countertop.
Then, time for work, she’ll skip down the stairs to the garage, taking them two at a time, and I’ll shuffle slowly behind her, giving one last longing look at the apartment before leaving for anywhere from eight to twelve hours: “Goodbye, bed,” I’ll sigh.
She’ll give me a perky hug and kiss and be gone, off to conquer the rest of her morning while I crawl into my own vehicle and try to conquer driving to work without falling asleep at stop lights.
Sometimes, in this sleepy morning commute, I think it would be better had I not made a morning person my wife. I’d sleep late without guilt and, once coming to, would throw my arm around the slumbering mass beside me and shake it awake. “Sweetheart,” I’d hoarsely moan, “do you wanna get up?” But all she would do is roll back over and snooze into the afternoon; what a lovely world it would be.
But during this mental meandering I remember that I was on “E” yesterday after work. I look down to find it is now full … she must have topped off the cars this morning before I got up. I peruse the Armor All wiped dash, surely also rubbed down during one of her morning clean-ups, and I touch my neatly ironed work shirt and wonder what is contained in my neatly packed lunch.
And it is usually in this moment that I realize that while a wife sleeping peaceably beside me might be a fantasy I’ll never have, it is far better having an industrious dream girl to wake up to and not burn the day with.